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Summer 2011

In this issue - 

  Châteaus with Last-Minute Availability

  Our newest member:  Château de la Poujade 

  Coming Soon: Château de Picomtal

  This issue's Featured Bed & Breakfast

Our featured Château Rental

and much more!


Last-Minute Availability . . .

  • Château Robert, an hour's drive from Bordeaux and not far from Biarritz and the Pyrénées, has some weeks available in August!  For those of you who are still looking for a château to rent this August . . . a château with tennis courts and a swimming pool . . . this may  be the find of the season! 
  • Château de Détilly in the Loire still has the weeks of June 26th and/or July 3 open at a special last-minute booking rate! 
  • Château de Villette in Burgundy is offering their Spring Special:  Stay four nights for the price of three until June 30, 2011
  • Château de la Poujade (our newest member) in the beautiful Dordogne is offering a 10% discount off their high season rate for bookings between July 9 and 30
Last-minute room and rental availability is not limited to those mentioned above, so do contact us for availability at any of our member properties.
    To learn more or make a reservation, please contact and mention the château & its offer.

Welcome to Château de la Poujade
~  in the sunny Dordogne  ~

We are very happy to welcome Château de la Poujade to au Château.  Owned by Count and Countess de Commarque (who also own Château de la Bourgonie), this 17th century chartreuse, a listed Historical Monument, is available for rent by the week for gatherings of family and friends, special celebrations or just a lovely holiday retreat to have all to yourselves.

Château de la Poujade
The lovely Château de la Poujade

Guests will appreciate the peace and quiet while being only a few kilometers from all the region's important sites and attractions.  The Dordogne is famous for being the birthplace of modern man ~ the grottoes and cave paintings allow visitors to enjoy prehistory through the art left behind by Cro Magnon society.  Now in modern times, those who come here not only experience the amazing history of the region but they also enjoy the regional cuisine, appealing culture and delightful villages that have made the Dordogne a favorite destination for many decades.

If luxury and elegance are what you desire in a place to stay, then Château de la Poujade is the perfect choice. Guest rooms are beautiful and spacious, bathrooms are modern, and the common rooms are extraordinary and authentic.

Poujade Dining RoomPoujade SalonPoujade Chambre Louis XIV
The vaulted dining room and salon and Chambre Louis XIV

Please visit Château de la Poujade on our pages today to make your reservation for a week or more in the southwest of France.  For questions or booking, please contact us at

[Photo Credits:  © 2011 Château de la Poujade.  All rights reserved.]


France Car

You will notice that on every au Château member's main page is a link to
convenient car rental agents.  Each of those is provided by France Car, an
agency specializing in discount rentals.  We have been using their web site
 for years to rent cars for our drives in France.  You can research cars, book
online and get information on pick up and drop off locations throughout France.
To learn more, simply click on the above banner.

Coming Soon. . .

Château de Picomtal 

Garden view of the châteauA magnificent château in the heart of the southern French Alps is coming your way!  With a history going back 1000 years, Château de Picomtal is today a luxurious chambres d'hôtes surrounded by beautiful gardens in a spectacular location.  For those interested in cooking courses, day-long workshops and evening demonstrations are organized throughout the year. In addition, concerts are hosted at the château in the vaulted hall.  There will be three concerts in July and August, beginning with a Celtic Music Concert on July 12.

Regular guided tours are scheduled in the summer and on European Heritage day in September. Guided tours for groups are possible throughout the year by reservation.

Guest rooms are spacious and tastefully appointed with all the authentic charm of this historic château left in tact.  This photo is of chambre Le Morgon, a sunny room facing west with both mountain and forest views.

Chambre Le Morgon

Do visit the au Château web site soon to see more photos and read about all that this fine château has to offer. If you are interested in booking a room at the château prior to its appearance on our web site, please contact us at

[Photos are property of M. et Mme Peureux, Château de Picomtal. All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 107

Where are we? 

Name the building and the village where it is located.

Quiz 107

 The first person whose email is received with the correct answer
will receive a package of twelve assorted exclusive Château Note Cards.

Send your answer by email to

See the answer to last month's Quiz at the end of this newsletter.
The answer to this month's quiz will appear in our Autumn 2011 issue.

[Photo © 1993-2011 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Featured Bed & Breakfast: 
La Terrasse de Lautrec

La Terrasse de Lautrec from the gardens

Words are not always sufficient to describe a place that has left one with indelible happy memories ~ La Terrasse de Lautrecand the tiny village of Lautrec is such a place.  We made it our destination in 2007 as a stopover point on our drive north, and we spent two wonderful nights and days in this tranquil location enjoying the activity at the covered market, the tiny Place du Monument outside our window and the incredible endless views from La Terrasse's magnificent gardens.

Medieval Lautrec

The village, one of Les Plus Beaux Villages of France, is filled with winding lanes and little surprises around every turn.  Fine examples of medieval architecture are today the homes of the  La Terrasse's gardens border the medieval ramparts, and it is across the lane from a fine 14th century church. 

Legend has it that Charlemagne laid the foundations for the church of Saint Rémy which was just outside the rampart walls, allowing it to fall into disrepair and collapse.  It was rebuilt in the 14th through 16th centuries in the village a few steps from La Terrasse. 

Moulin du Vent, Lautrec

One enjoyable activity is to climb the stone steps to the 17th century Moulin du Vent  (what views you will see from there!).  Another is to stop at the tourist office to see the ancient convent bake house and a model of the village as it once was.  You can even visit a clog maker's workshop or stop in at the little gift shop that sells the region's amazing pink garlic (ail rose).

View of Lautrec
Lautrec, the church and the view as seen from Moulin du Vent

We encourage you to consider a stay at La Terrasse de Lautrec when you next visit the Tarn département of the Midi-Pyrénées.  It is convenient to both Toulouse and Albi, and the region is authentic France in every way.

[Photos courtesy of Dominique Ducoudray and Cold Spring Press  © 2011 All Rights Reserved.]

  Villes et Villages de France

 . . . we hope to tempt you to visit these marvelous places
when you are roaming through the French countryside.

                                                                                The village of  Bonny-sur-Loire

As we drive through France we are always discovering little towns and villages purely by chance, and we are always impressed by how tidy they are.  It brightens our day to see their carefully tended flower beds, overflowing flower baskets hanging from lampposts and flower boxes under all the windows. A pleasant fountain in the plaza is a common feature as well.

Bonny-sur-Loire, a commune in the département of the Loiret (45), is designated a Ville Fleurie with trois fleurs for obvious reasons. The architecture in villages throughout France is dependent upon the age of the building, the local materials, and regional traditions. A glimpse of the Mairie (village hall and mayor's office) can be seen at the left.

This commune has a population of just over 2,000 inhabitants, is on the River Loire, and just south of the city of Gien, one of the faïence centers of France, on the D952/D2007.  What a lovely place to visit or to live!

[Photo: © 2009-2011Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

 Our Featured Château Rental:
Château Robert near Bordeaux

The château and pool at sunset

Who doesn't love Bordeaux...the wine and the region of southwest France?  Not an hour's drive from Bordeaux in the Landes (40) département, with easy access as well to Pau, Biarritz and Basque country, is the stunning and elegant Château Robert.  It has ten spacious bedrooms, nine of which are en suite, and a sparkling swimming pool and tennis courts.  This is the ideal getaway for a group of family or friends who want an unforgettable week or two in this sunny part of France.

Elegant dining at Château RobertYou can live a life of luxury at Château Robert and even have a personal chef prepare your meals.  Imagine a lovely meal in this beautiful dining room!  All the common rooms are spacious, comfortable and decorated tastefully in keeping with the architecture of the château.  The bedrooms are elegant, and the use of rich fabrics and fine furnishings make them tranquil and restful retreats.

For those interested in cooking or wine appreciation, courses are available at the château  ~ as well as optional extras such as driver 24/7, babysitting, airport pick up and drop off, and more.  Visit the château on our web site today for information about all the amenities offered and for more photos of the château.

Remember that Château Robert still has two weeks left in August.  Send us an email soon for further details and booking at

[Photo: © 20011 Sabrina Franzheim.  All Rights Reserved.]

Did you know . . .

Domaine de Moulin Merthat Domaine de Moulin Mer, a member of this web site, is featured in the large format Michelin FRANCE 2011 atlas?  In the category Michelin's selected addresses, under Where to stay and eat in Bretagne, Le Domaine de Moulin Mer is listed.  The Michelin review says: "On the coast road, in a garden strewn with palm trees and magnolia bushes, this early 20C abode conceals a beautifully looked after interior.  Antiques and ornaments embellish the charming rooms.  Menu of the day prepared by the owner (out of season only)." The review is accompanied by Michelin's symbol for 'The Most Pleasant Guesthouses'.  We could not agree more.  Our stay there in 2009 was delightful, as were our host and the cuisine!

Château de l'Isle-MarieNext we were pleased to discover two more of au Château's members listed under Where to stay and eat in Normandy.  First, there is Château de l'Isle-Marie about which Michelin said: "This lavish medieval caslte set in an immense estate has belonged to the same family for centuries.  A unique mix of comfort, romance and authenticity."  It, too, received a 'Most Pleasant Guesthouses' designation.  Mentioning 'romance' is appropriate as this château was named one of the '50 Most Romantic Hideaways Worldwide' by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Friendly owners wait to welcome you.

Second is Château de Boucéel, a charming and popular place to stay and a member of our site since 2001.  Michelin wrote: "Set in landscaped gardens and ponds, this family château built in 1763 is adorned with period furniture, parquet floors and ancestral portraits.  Personalized rooms." Once again, it is in the category 'Most Pleasant Guesthouses'.  We want to add that the Comtesse de Roquefeuil-Cahuzac is as charming and pleasant as can be! 

Please visit each of these properties on our web site to read all about them and to see the photos of their rooms and gardens.  You can contact the owners directly by phone or email from their pages on au Château

Easy Recipe: Mousse au Chocolat with Grand Marnier

Photo courtesy of is a basic recipe for this very popular French dessert flavored with  the orange liqueur Grand Marnier and without any added sugar.  It makes six servings.

You will need 1/4 pound of bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, 4 egg yolks, 4 egg whites, 4 tablespoons of butter (softened), and 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier liqueur.

Break chocolate into little pieces and melt it by putting it on a small plate, covered with an inverted plate of the same size, and put the plates over a small pot of simmering water.  Leave for about 10 minutes until the chocolate has melted.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the egg yolks until they are quite thick.  Fold in the softened butter, Grand Marnier and melted chocolate.  Then beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites with a wooden spoon. 

Divide the mixture among six small serving dishes and chill for four hours before serving.  You can serve with a topping of chocolate shavings and a dollop of whipped cream.

Bon appétit!

Click here for measure conversion tables.

  We hope you have enjoyed au Château News.
If you have,  please forward it to friends and 
encourage them to subscribe.  It's FREE!

Answer to Quiz 106 - Where Are We?  from our Spring  issue:

The answer to last issue's quiz is Antibes in France's Alpes-Maritimes,
and we had several correct guesses.  The first correct answer receiving was from
a subscriber in France - our first contest winner from France!  We congratulate her!

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